Big things are expected out of Hyperloop, the new technology that could revolutionize travel. The scope of this transport technology is big. Many countries are building Hyperloop, and many are testing it. Let’ look into the details of this technology.
What Is It?
Hyperloop is one of the new forms of transport, which could see people traveling at above 700 MPH in floating pods racing along in a big low-pressure tube.
What Makes It Different?
Traditional rail and Hyperloop differ in two respects. First of all, the pods that carry passengers go through tunnels or tubes from which the majority air will be removed to minimize friction. That should make the pods travel at above 700 MPH possible. Secondly, the capsules are designed either to move on air-bearing skies or to utilize magnetic levitation (maglev) to minimize friction.
What Are the Advantages of Hyperloop?
Those who support Hyperloop argue that it could be quicker, more affordable than car or train travel, and less polluting and cheaper compared to air travel. Supporters claim that it is faster and more affordable to build, compared to conventional high-speed rail (HSR). So Hyperloop could be used with an eye on making travel from one city to another easier, and thereby possibly unlocking big economic benefits.
When Will the Initial Hyperloops Be Available?
Numerous companies are making efforts to turn Hyperloop from an idea into a working commercial system. The basic idea of Hyperloop has long been around, but technology is in development even today. The earliest a Hyperloop is expected to be functioning is next year, but the majority of services are likely to come afterwards because tests are going on.
In Which Places Will Commercial Hyperloop Services Operate?
It is still unclear as to where early Hyperloops will be set, but many companies have planned routes in Europe, the US and elsewhere. Some potential routes run between Kansas City and St Louis, as well as New York and Washington DC.
How Does Hyperloop’s Tube Work?
Elon Musk envisioned the basic concept of Hyperloop where passenger capsules or pods go through a big tube, either below or above ground. To lessen friction, pumps remove the majority air.
In the high-speed automobile travel industry, among the main applications of energy is to overcome air resistance. Airliners reach high levels of altitude to go through the air that is less dense. For a similar result in ground-level transport, Hyperloop encloses passenger pods in a lowered-pressure tube, which effectively enable traveling at aircraft speeds.
In Elon Musk’s Hyperloop model, the air pressure in the tube is around one-sixth of the atmosphere pressure on Mars. This means that at 100 pascals operating pressure, it would be similar to flying 150,000 feet over the ground.
How Is It Different From a High-Speed Train?
According to supporters, Hyperloop is a lot better compared to HSR transport. It is more energy-efficient and lower in cost because of two reasons:
- The track does not have to keep on providing power to Hyperloop pods; and,
- The capsules can leave each 30 seconds
So when it comes to service, what a Hyperloop train provides is close to on demand. It is potentially about three times quicker than a high-speed train.
How Much Money Would Building a Hyperloop Require?
For the Hyperloop system running between LA and San Francisco, which Elon Musk envisioned, he devised the cost of below $6 billion. Musk envisaged a 30-minute journey between these cities with capsule departures every half a minute, each one carrying 28 people aboard.
The technology entrepreneur proposed $20 plus operational expenses for a ticket to one direction on the Hyperloop for passengers.
The bulk of the Hyperloop expense lies in constructing the network of tubes. Over $4 billion was the calculated total expense of the vacuum pumps, tube, pillars and stations for the Hyperloop (passenger version). The expense of the pods was placed at about $1.35 million apiece: with 40 pods required for the Hyperloop service, the total cost of them is about $54 million.
How Will Traveling in This Train Feel Like?
Hyperloop critics have said that it might not be a comfortable experience to travel through the tube. They attribute that to nausea-causing acceleration and the lateral gravitational force on curves in the Hyperloop route. However, as per the company Virgin Hyperloop One, a journey through it will be more or less the same experience as traveling in a passenger aircraft or riding in a lift.
“Although Hyperloop will be fast, the systems we are building will accelerate with the same tolerable G-forces as that of taking off in a Boeing 747,” said the company. It added that there will be a gradual increase in speed and decrease in speed, with no turbulence and G-forces.
Traveling inside a windowless capsule means passengers will not have much to see: as per Musk’s vision, “beautiful landscape will be displayed in the cabin.”